Monday, 15 September 2014

Phones4U rings out a need to understand power/dependency

The news that Phone4U has been forced into liquidation as a result of its strategic suppliers opting to no longer supply means that nearly 6,000 workers will understandably view any talk of a recovery with significiant scepticism. The market and government tend to forget that failed businesses bring personal traumas and scared memories. Phoens4U struck me as great on customer service and providing a useful offer - I have had many phones through them over the years and was always impressed by the staff who dealt with me - my heart goes out to them.

But the decisions of Vodafone, O2 and EE to no longer contract with Phones4U demonstrate the importance of understanding and recognising the power/dependency relationship in procurement. Clearly those big providers have developed an alternative business model of cutting out the middle man questioned their added value. But how did Phone4U addresses these former partnerships over the years? Did they view the partnerships as not only a significant procurement risk or even they recognise the potential for the supply chain to close the firm?

We can only hope that negotiating strategy of Phones4U was not a major contribuor to its demise but when O2 withdrew as a supplier back in February warning bells must have sounded. But warning bells must also sound for all those businesses which are dependent on those providers for delivery of their services - do you consider your business as preferred customer of, for example, Vodafone, or are you merely dependent on them?

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